I’m always on the hunt for the best Chicago restaurants, and I’m embarrassed to say: I missed one in my own back yard. Palm Court in Arlington Heights invited me to a complimentary dinner, and they gave me a gift card to come back, but all opinions remain my own.
You know how there’s that place you drive by allll the time but never visit? Usually, I don’t worry that I missed out on anything, but wow did I make a mistake with Palm Court in Arlington Heights.
I can’t tell you how often I’ve driven past this restaurant located at the corner of Rand and Arlington Heights roads. It’s been around forever – for 39 years and counting – but I never stopped in.
Now that I did make it there, you can bet I’ll be back. And not only because you can get a free dessert with any dinner now through June 10, 2019 (just show a screenshot of this article!)
Hands down, this is one of the best Chicago restaurants in the suburbs. It’s worth a trip, whether for a date night or a family event or just because.
What do I love about Palm Court in Arlington Heights?
Remember to show a screenshot of this article to get a complimentary dessert with your dinner now through 6/30/19!
From the moment you walk in, the unique layout calls to you. It’s a one of a kind design that makes dining fun, and the mid century decor is retro chic in the perfect way.
While Palm Court has been open at this address since 1979, it has a new owner as of last year. The new owner kept the classic everyone loved but updated the menu at the same time.
Let’s start with the appetizers
I am a sucker for a good baked goat cheese. I don’t see it often enough, and Palm Court does it right.
The warm garlic bread that accompanies the perfectly seasoned tomato sauce holds up so well to the crumbled goat cheese. This is the perfect way to start your meal.
If you prefer shrimp, order their shrimp cocktail. I know there’s no way I can visit Palm Court in Arlington Heights and not have my daughter order these. The four U-12 gulf shrimp are perfectly poached and huge. The homemade cocktail sauce is delicous, and the horseradish sauce atop it lets you adjust the heat to your liking.
They offer escargot en champignon, another classic item you rarely see on menus anymore. Or choose the oysters Rockefeller. This provides just a sampling of the appetizers available, all of which are reasonably priced.
Don’t Forget Your Salad
Salads come both as a starter ($5-7) and entree ($10-13), which I love. Pick up a classic Caesar or their house Palm Court Salad, but I recommend the Walnut Pear Salad and Chopped Salad.
The Walnut Pear Salad starts with pears poached in red wine that complement the blue cheese crumbles, walnuts, and raspberry vinaigrette perfectly. As with so many dishes, the plating only adds to the appeal of the item.
The chopped salad has some fun twists on the classic. The finely chopped iceberg lettuce comes with turkey, avocado, bacon, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, red onions, and a ranch dressing. This is a perfect option to share with the entree size.
Come Hungry for Palm Court Appetizers
Palm Court in Arlington Heights offers some of the freshest seafood I’ve tasted in Chicago, in addition to USDA prime grade beef that gets wet aged for 21-28 days before being hand trimmed. They also offer delicious chicken and veal dishes, as well as vegetarian options and more. The menu is impressively extensive.
Not only is the seafood incredibly fresh, but the portions are – I’ll say it again – huge. Do you see the size of that lobster tail compared to the lemon half next to it? That’s an 8 ounce lobster tail.
As an entree, you receive two lobster tails served with drawn butter kept warm via classic candle. If you prefer surf and turf, add a single lobster tail to any entree.
The porterhouse, another dining club tradition, gives you the best of two steaks in one entree. It consists of the
sirloin (aka NY Strip) on the long side and the tenderloin that is a minimum of 2” from the bone (the filet side). Did I mention you need to come hungry?
If you prefer a slow roasted prime rib, Palm Court in Arlington Heights offers this not just on Saturdays like so many restaurants but seven days a week. This savory, juicy cut comes in three size options from 12 ounce to 24 ounce. Are you starting to see why this is one of the best Chicago restaurants in the suburbs?
Would you rather enjoy a classic fish? Order the Dover sole that gets deboned at your table and served amandine. Or go with the wild caught Alaskan halibut coated in crushed macadamia nuts and served with meuniere sauce.
The New Zealand rack of lamb gets cut into four double chops, which creates a unique presentation. This is easily one of the best lamb dishes I’ve ever eaten.
My favorite dish of the night, however, was the chicken piccata. The generous portion of Amish, free range, organic chicken is amazingly tender and moist. It has so much flavor with the savory citrus caper sauce and angel hair pasta.
Every entree comes with more…
As if the portion size didn’t provide enough to eat, every entree starts with your choice of a house salad or cup of soup. This includes both the soup of the day and – my favorite – French onion soup.
While Palm Court offers a variety of sides for the table, each entree also comes with a vegetable medley and choice of starch – rice pilaf, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, baked potato, or hand-cut French fries. There’s no way you’ll leave hungry.
But make sure to leave room for dessert
I’m a key lime afficianado. Or snob. Either way works. I adore key lime pie, but only when it’s done right. I don’t want anything dyed green or using fake ingredients. The key lime pie continues to elevate Palm Court in Arlington Heights to one of the best Chicago restaurants in the suburbs.
It’s the original recipe from the Florida Keys, and it is divine. I may have eaten more than my fair share. And through the month of April, each time you purchase key lime pie – whether a slice or a whole pie – the restaurant donated to the Autism Hero Project.
That isn’t their only dessert, however. If you love a good, classic cheesecake, you’ll love this version. Choose to enjoy it plain, with berries, or with a berry coulis. I highly recommend the berry coulis as the perfect complement.
Their apple cinnamon crisp again takes a classic and puts a delicious twist on it. This version comes deconstructed, with cinnamon dusted phyllo pieces atop caramelized apples with golden raisins and vanilla ice cream. The chocolate and honey drizzle provides the perfect finish to the perfect dessert to share – or enjoy yourself.
The classics don’t stop here. I’ve only seen a Brandy Ice at one other restaurant recently, and it came nowhere near the flavor or presentation here. The hand mixed vanilla ice cream gets doused in brandy, then presented with a flaming sugar cube atop the dessert. Can you really turn that down?
And don’t forget to get a complimentary dessert with your dinner now through June 30, 2019 when you show a screenshot of this article to your server! Which one will you choose?
And yes, there’s an amazing wine list as with all of the best Chicago restaurants
Whether you prefer whites, reds, roses, or sparkling wines, there’s something to fit your palate on the extensive wine list. Enjoy wines by the glass or bottle to accompany your meal. Not sure what you want? The staff knows their wine and can easily help you choose the perfect pairing to make the perfect meal at one of the best Chicago restaurants in the suburbs.
Where do you place this on your list of best Chicago restaurants?